6 Celebs Who Have Boldly Defended Sasha And Malia Obama

Malia and Sasha Obama never asked to be in the spotlight, but they were thrust smack in the middle of it nonetheless. Being only 10 and 7 when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, they had no say on whether they would become public figures. Even though Malia and Sasha have shown they hate the celebrity life, the former first daughters have continued to attract media attention years after they left the White House in 2016. Unable to avoid their unasked-for fame, Malia and Sasha have been targets of totally false stories since before they came of age.

But fake news aside, the Obama sisters also received unwanted attention for a series of true stories. Over the years, the Obama sisters have racked up media moments that drew backlash over behavior deemed inappropriate. In 2014, conservatives nearly lost their heads over Sasha and Malia's choice of attire and demeanor at that year's Thanksgiving turkey pardon ceremony. Republican staffer Elizabeth Lauten even lost her job after criticizing them on social media. "Try showing a little class," she wrote, the Washington Post reported.

Malia has caught flak for committing the unforgivable sins of dancing at a music festival in 2016 and attending parties while visiting universities between 2015 and 2016. Both Malia and Sasha have sparked outrage for smoking and (gasp!) kissing boys. Even the sisters' professional decisions have been criticized. But despite all the outrage, Malia and Sasha Obama have also drawn support from strangers, public figures, and celebrities alike. 

Ivanka Trump defended Malia Obama's right to privacy

During a tailgate party before a Harvard-Yale football game in November 2017, Malia Obama was photographed smoking and kissing a guy (who turned out to be her longtime boyfriend Rory Farquharson). Unshockingly, she received an avalanche of criticism, even though her father wasn't the president anymore. But many others also came out in her defense and among them was none other than then-president Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump.

A few days after the controversy, Ivanka took to X, previously known as Twitter, to remind everyone that Malia was a 19-year-old college student. "Malia Obama should be allowed the same privacy as her school aged peers. She is a young adult and private citizen, and should be OFF limits," she wrote. Ivanka's defense of the former first daughter, despite their fathers' conflicting ideologies, showed how strongly she felt about the issue. Just a few months earlier, Ivanka had made a similar case about her brother, Barron Trump.

Shortly after moving into the White House in June 2017, Donald's youngest son was mocked and judged for wearing casual T-shirts and shorts — even by conservatives. In August 2017, the Daily Caller ran an article titled: "It's High Time Barron Trump Starts Dressing Like He's In the White House." Ivanka couldn't stay quiet. "He's a young boy trying his best to acclimate in a surreal environment," she said in a September 2017 interview on "Dr. Oz," adding that "Barron should be off limits," (via MamaMia).

Chelsea Clinton also empathized with Malia Obama

Like Ivanka Trump, Chelsea Clinton could also empathize with Malia Obama's situation. Perhaps even more so, considering she suffered relentless bullying when she was a teenager living in the White House. In light of the controversy surrounding Barack Obama's oldest daughter's tailgate party, she quickly spoke up. "Malia Obama's private life, as a young woman, a college student, a private citizen, should not be your clickbait. Be better," she tweeted.

Chelsea was deemed a hypocrite by X users for reportedly staying quiet when Barron Trump was in a similar position. "Chelsea STFU! You didn't speak up for Barron!! He is an innocent young man that was horribly attacked! U said nothing! WHY?" one replied. But the user was wrong. Chelsea did come out in defense of Trump, even before Ivanka did. In August 2017, the former first daughter also used the platform to advocate for Barron the same day the Daily Caller article came out.

"It's high time the media & everyone leave Barron Trump alone & let him have the private childhood he deserves," she tweeted. In fact, Chelsea came out in Barron's defense several times, just as she did the Obama sisters. In December 2020, she also stood up for Sasha Obama when a supposed photo of her in a crop top and bikini went viral. "Oh goodness gracious what did I miss? Actually, don't tell me. Sasha Obama is a private citizen who deserves her privacy full stop," Chelsea tweeted

Jenna Bush Hager felt 'fiercely protective' over Obama sisters

The daughters of former President George W. Bush have stood up for Malia and Sasha Obama many times through the years. Amid the controversy that forced Elizabeth Lauten to resign in 2014, Jenna Bush Hager revealed how she felt about the Obama sisters. "I'm fiercely protective of them, obviously ... It's not a job that they wanted," she said on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" (via Today). 

Hager and her sister, Barbara Bush, sent Malia and Sasha a letter with advice after they left the White House. "Enjoy college. As most of the world knows, we did. And you won't have the weight of the world on your young shoulders anymore. Explore your passions. Learn who you are. Make mistakes — you are allowed to," they wrote in the piece published by Time in January 2017, likely referring to the underage drinking controversy that resulted in their arrest when they were college students at the White House.

In 2022, Hager praised the adults Malia and Sasha went on to become. "To see them grow up to be incredible women, independent women ... makes me so proud, slightly emotional," she told E! News. In 2018, Michelle Obama shared that the Bush sisters and Chelsea Clinton's support had proved invaluable during Malia and Sasha. "I will love them forever for what kind of support they provided to my daughters throughout that," she said of the three of them on ABC's "Good Morning America." 

Aubrey O'Day called out conservatives' hypocrisy

Aubrey O'Day was one of the famous names who came out in defense of Sasha Obama when the bikini photo set the internet ablaze. The former Danity Kane singer couldn't get past what she interpreted as hypocrisy from the conservatives who were attacking the then-19-year-old. "Right! ..like we had [to] sit quiet while the President of the United States paid off porn stars.. and also had to keep it together when the First Prostitute destroyed the rose garden," she tweeted in December 2020.

O'Day was referring to Donald Trump's alleged affair with Stormy Daniels, and then-first lady Melania Trump's controversial renovations of the iconic White House garden in August 2020. Melania was criticized after a viral post accused her of removing historic bushes from the rose garden, including Jackie Kennedy's crabapple trees, but USA Today debunked the claims. As O'Day was pointing the finger at hypocrites, social media users did the same back at her.

"Clean for Sasha, but not for whom you deem unworthy?" an X user tweeted in response. The singer's defense of Sasha is noteworthy given her complicated history with the Trumps. While O'Day reportedly had an affair with Donald Trump Jr. and has nothing but praise for him, she opposes Donald and admires Barack Obama. In 2019, she went so far as to tell Page Six the 44th president would be her top choice of sperm donor to conceive a child. "He's brilliant, classy, kind, compassionate, witty, gorgeous," she said.

Jameela Jamil saw nothing wrong with Sasha Obama's pic

Jameela Jamil also came out in defense of Sasha Obama and her revealing outfit. In a tweet, "The Good Place" actor called for the separation of parents and children, arguing Sasha was not an extension of Barack Obama. "Oh shut up about Sasha Obama, she's young, free and harming nobody. Stop acting like it's the President of The United States doing this," she wrote. Even in those circumstances, the criticism would still be misguided, she defended. "Which even if they did would still hurt nobody."

While many social media users agreed with her, others criticized Sasha for partying during the COVID-19 pandemic. "So wait, Jameela Jamil does not support social distancing? Mask wearing?" one tweeted. Others, however, reminded Jamil that it hadn't been confirmed whether the woman in the photo was even Sasha. "Sasha Obama would not roll in the hood. The background look to be the project or low income housing with a strange man looking on ... perhaps a [Photoshop]," one tweeted.

The pandemic could be an indication that it wasn't Sasha, as she and Malia Obama had been quarantining at home with their parents. The University of Michigan, where she was a sophomore at the time, was closed amid COVID-19 restrictions. But it could be an old photo. In either case, Jamil's argument should still stand true. "She looks happy and she deserves to grow up expressing herself and having fun," she concluded in her tweet.

Whoopi Goldberg supported Malia Obama's professional name

After graduating from Harvard University in 2021, Malia Obama moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a filmmaker. In January, the Sundance Institute released her "Meet the Artist" clip ahead of the premiere of her short film "The Heart." However, it wasn't the content in Malia's project that caught everyone's attention. It was her name. The former first daughter was listed simply as Malia Ann, signaling she opted to drop her last name in her work.

Social media users had lots to say about the writer and director's decision. "Obama's daughter trying to sneak past Nepo baby discourse by not using her last name. Bro you are Obama's Daughter," one tweeted. But Whoopi Goldberg had no patience for any of it. In a February episode of "The View," the "Sister Act" star argued the criticism was not only uncalled for, but it also made no sense. "If she knows she's an Obama, why do you care? Why do you care what she calls herself?" she said.

While Malia still uses her first and middle names, Goldberg defended she could have just as well come up with something entirely different if she wanted to, reminding viewers of her own decision to not use her given name, Caryn Elaine Johnson, professionally. "If she wanted to call herself Jeanette MacDonald, she has the right to! If I can be Whoopi Goldberg, she can be whoever the hell she wants to be!" she said.